I want to apologize to those of you that have been reading this space regularly. I have not been writing as much was I would like to be. There have been some things happening in my personal life that have led to that in some degree, but for the most part, it’s me. I’ve been spending a lot of time observing, listening to people on both sides of the aisle, thinking, and reading. I’ve also been basically in two states lately, either filled with a blinding rage that is both all-consuming and exhausting…or exhausted. It’s been difficult to focus in these periods.
Also, frankly, I don’t like to shout into the void unless I have something new or original to say. There’s a lot of good people out there doing a lot of good reporting on the current political climate. Hopefully you’re reading some of them. If not, take a look at Ezra Klein, Joy Ann Reid, Rachel Maddow, David Cay Johnston, Sopan Deb, Sarah Kendzior, Dan Diamond, and Leah McElrath, to start with.
But, since I have a blog, that makes me a blogger, which means I must write on my blog. So, these are the things I’ve been watching and thinking about. I’ve got a few short hits on a few things that have been happening, and something longer on the election and the reaction to it from many on The Left.
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them, well, I have others.
HEALTH CARE: The GOP seems determined to ram their health care bill down our throats despite the fact that no one seems to like it except insurance companies and rich people, probably because they’re the only ones that will be better off under it. Speaker Ryan says this bill is all about choices, but the only people that have to choose between having health insurance and not having it will be poor people. Believe me, Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump won’t have to worry about whether or not to own a phone or health insurance.
Ryan’s insistence that people will only be uninsured if they want to be is SOP for the GOP. Forever conservatives have argued that people are only poor because they’re lazy, that people are unemployed because they just don’t want to work, that homeless people like living in the streets because they’re irresponsible. They say the addicted and the mentally ill are victims of their own weakness. They say that women get raped because they ask for it, and in the case of women in the military, they ask for it just by being there. Unarmed people who get shot by the police (who are almost invariable people of color) are always to blame for their own murder. It’s always a question of his cooperation, his attitude, and his actions. The policeman – and by extension, the government and the system behind it – are never at fault. And now, if you die of a treatable illness, that will be your fault too.
THE RUSSIANS: Sarah Kendzior had the deets on this for a long time, but now everyone’s on it, which is good. Here’s some of the latest from Vox. If you still don’t believe that there is fire here, you’re a partisan, ignorant, or just blind.
The real question is, why do most of the members of the GOP continue to stonewall for Trump? Is it in order to ensure his support for their health care bill? He’s been working hard to pass it, despite the fact that it breaks every single promise he made to voters about health care. It seems incredibly odd to me that GOP Congressmen would defend this wildly unpopular President just to get a wildly unpopular bill passed.
Why else? Blackmail? The DOJ confirmed that the Russians hacked both the DNC and the RNC before the election but only released emails and info on the Democrats. What do they have on the GOP? Why haven’t they released it? The Russians are so well-versed in the collection of compromising material they have their own word for it: Kompromat. You can be sure that if their ex-KGB leader Putin has the goods, he knows how to use them.
THE SUPREME COURT: I don’t give a shit how qualified Gorsuch might be. That is Merrick Garland’s seat. I personally do not care if it stays empty forever, either. The Court is completely politicized at this point anyway.
IMMIGRATION: The latest travel ban is another Trump failure, like his first. Now they’ve announced a ban on laptops on carryons on certain flights out of certain countries. Supposedly this is because they’re worried about bombs. Does anyone really believe this? How does this even help? Oh, you’ve got a bomb in your laptop. Now instead of being in the cabin of the plane, it’s in the cargo hold. Problem…solved? No. Since only non-US airlines are effected, many people think this is just a way of funneling people onto US airlines, which figures. It would be nice if, at some point, the White House made a national security move that actually made us safer, but that’s not what they’re about. That doesn’t keep us divided and afraid.
This brings me to my last point. This one went longer than I had intended. Hope you have a minute or two.
DEMOCRATS: I’m shocked and dismayed at the amount of people who claim to be democrats, liberals, or progressives who continue to miss what happened in the election. I do not want to stand on a soapbox and tell people they’re wrong, because in my experience, people hate to hear they are wrong. When they do hear it, they usually just start looking for a way to figure out why they’re not wrong, rather than try to figure out whether or not they really are wrong. That said, continuing to misunderstand the problems we face insures that we won’t solve them. So, bear with me here.
Some people are saying HRC lost the election because of Russian interference. This is wrong. Yes, there was a flood of Russian-planted propaganda, through fake news on Facebook and Youtube, strategically leaked DNC emails on Wikileaks, and their manipulation of the FBI (and Comey’s knowing or unknowing cooperation). But this propaganda magically only worked on White Americans. Why were people of color, especially Black women, able to resist this magic flood of disinformation?
Some people are saying HRC lost because she “ran a bad campaign” or “made mistakes.” These mistakes usually boil down to a couple of things. One is that people think she didn’t campaign hard enough in states she narrowly lost. This is a brilliant and daring observation! It’s also wrong. This wasn’t about rallies or photo ops.
The other, very compelling, brilliant, daring and original argument people make about the mistakes of HRC and Dems in general go something like this: “Dems are losing because they don’t pay enough attention to [insert issues the speaker cares most about here]. Until they pay more attention to [things that speaker cares about] they never will connect with real progressives and every day Americans.” Yeah…this is wrong too. I literally find it shocking how many people believe their favorite issues are the issues that ALL Americans find important and care heavily about. This is not true for anyone. Please stop it, now. Wait, I hear you saying, but W.W.C., my issue is jobs! Everyone wants a job! Everyone needs a job! Donald Trump talked about jobs more than Hillary and that’s why he won! Again, though, only white people seemed to hear him. People of color are more insecure, more likely to lose and be unable to find a job, more likely to go unemployed or live in poverty that white people. Why were they immune to this economic insecurity? Back to that. Why did they know better?
There is no perfect party that will put forward a platform that will instantly energize a majority of voters, nor is there a perfect candidate who will do the same, and if you’ve been waiting for that candidate, stop it, now. That candidate, BTW, is definitely not Bernie Sanders, and if you’re saying to yourself, but Bernie only lost the primary because the DNC sabotaged him and hated him, again, you are wrong. Stop it, now. Bernie lost the primary (even though I held my nose and voted for him) because he was wrong about exactly the same thing the Socialist and Communist parties have been wrong about since their inception in the USA in the early part of the 20th century. They believe that all racism is a result of class inequality, and so refuse to address the system of racial inequality in the US alongside the question of class and wealth inequality. This is wrong. In many ways, the furtherance of class inequality has only been possible in this country due to the presence and furtherance of racial inequality, and until the symbiotic connection between both is understood and addressed, neither problem will ever be solved. They keep us at each other’s throats to maintain the hierarchy. Don’t fall into this trap.
If you’re still screaming about emails or Goldman Sachs, JESUS CHRIST STOP IT. Unless you’re working yourself into a lather right now over the new Administration’s CEO Cabinet or their lack of interest in maintaining any semblance of normal security. Stop it now. This was all made up shit, and you knew it. We knew it. PEOPLE OF COLOR CERTAINLY KNEW IT. And here’s why.
HRC lost because this is a country founded on white supremacy, built by white supremacy, and most of the white people in this country are fine with that, are actively for it, or are so intent on not feeling guilty about it that they ignore it, or pretend it’s ancient history, something in the past that someone else did. That’s it. That’s all. Because Donald Trump ran on a platform of continuing the system of White Supremacy that has always existed in this country. Some people were all for that. Some maybe weren’t, but not enough to get behind the only candidate that had a chance of stopping him – indeed, the only candidate that has EVER had the GUTS to call out the racist, sexist, misogynist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, White Supremacist portion of this country for the pile of deplorable assholes they are.
You can ignore this, but believe me, when the next Dem candidate comes up, there will be another batch of “emails”, another fake “scandal”, more innuendo and fake videos. And when that person’s approval rating drops like a stone, and suddenly there are all sorts of “questions” about their character, or connections, and you’ll be wondering if you can really support them, and does it matter, and aren’t all the parties the same anyway, and why isn’t there a candidate for me, and why can’t we have a third party so two liberal candidates can get stomped by the white supremacist and I’ll be like OMG YOU HAVE TO STOP IT NOW.
I know many of you think I’m wrong. I wonder about it all the time. I’m always happy to consider how I might be wrong about things, and I have made a laundry list of things I’ve been wrong about this past year. All I ask is you do the same.
Because I’ll tell you this. It’s something I said before the election. While liberals and progressives fight over who’s the right candidate, who they can support, racists and fascists all agree. They’ve got their guys. And if we can’t see them for what they are and see ourselves for what we are, those guys will continue to divide us and conquer us.
Frankly, I think that’s what will continue to happen. It’s been happening since the country was founded. I know that to be true. I don’t think enough of you are willing to admit the degree to which it’s still happening to stop it.
I truly hope that I am wrong.